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Not to be confused with the Mau-Mau rebellion in Kenya. For other uses of the term maimai, see Maimai
The term Mai-Mai or Mayi-Mayi refers to any kind of community-based militia group active in the Second Congo War and its aftermath in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formed to defend their local territory against other armed groups. Most were formed to resist the invasion of Rwandan forces and Rwanda-affiliated Congolese rebel groups, but some may have formed to exploit the war for their own advantage by looting, cattle rustling or banditry.

Groups that fall under the umbrella term "Mai Mai" include armed forces led by warlords, traditional tribal elders, village heads, and politically motivated resistance fighters. Because Mai Mai have had only the most tenuous internal cohesion, different Mai Mai groups allied themselves with a variety of domestic and foreign government and guerilla groups at different times. The term Mai Mai does not refer to any particular movement, affiliation or political objective but to a broad variety of groups.

The Mai Mai were particularly active (and in 2007, still active) in the provinces in the east bordering Rwanda, North Kivu and South Kivu (the "Kivus"), which were under the control of the Rwanda-allied Banyamulenge-dominated rebel faction, the Rally for Congolese Democracy-Goma (RCD-Goma).

While militias have long been common in the Kivus, particularly among the minority Batembo and Babembe ethnic groups,...
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